U.S. Treasurer on Which Woman Should Grace the New $10

September 16, 2015

This post was updated October 15, 2015. Scroll down to see the poll results!

In early October, AAUW members had the unique opportunity to meet Rosie Rios, the 43rd treasurer of the United States. Rios had invited AAUW to a private roundtable to discuss the redesign of the $10 bill. As treasurer, she is responsible for overseeing the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the U.S. Mint, and the U.S. Savings Bond Division. Rios’ signature has appeared on more than $700 billion’s worth of the nation’s banknotes.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Treasury Department announced plans to put a woman on the $10 bill in 2020. Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which secured women’s right to vote, the new $10 would mark the first time that a woman has been featured on a U.S. bill in more than a century (Pocahontas was on the $20 in the 1860s, Rios said).

As part of the initiative, the Treasury Department has invited the public to share their nominations for who should appear on the new $10. Through private roundtables, town halls, and a social media campaign, the Treasury Department is gathering input about who should be recognized.

Rosie Rios with the whole AAUW group

U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios invited AAUW members and staff to a private roundtable to discuss the new $10 bill design.

When Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced the redesign of the new $10, he intentionally stood in the rotunda of the National Archives, home to the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the U.S. Constitution. With this location and the open call for feedback, the Treasury Department is showcasing the fundamental principle that the nation was founded on: democracy.

“The definition of democracy is to take as much feedback as possible,” said Rios at the roundtable. With this as the theme of the redesign, the initiative has ignited dialogue about who should represent the face of democracy on the new currency. The Treasury Department insists that it’s trying to value women’s contributions to the American experiment, and AAUW recognizes that the women of color who shaped our country tend to be especially overlooked.

“This is about educating and awareness about the importance of women in history,” said AAUW Board Chair Patricia Fae Ho. From former first ladies to suffragists, abolitionists, doctors, and authors, the diverse list of suggestions for the new $10 honor the many acts of women’s leadership that built U.S. history.

Patricia Fae Ho

AAUW Board Chair Patricia Fae Ho (left) attended the event hosted by U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios.

“This is not about just one woman,” emphasized Rios. “There are many options, and there’s no right or wrong answer” about who should be featured. As the public has submitted their feedback, Rios said, “Not a week goes by where I don’t learn about someone new.”

Yet even with the Treasury Department’s commitment to putting a woman on currency, there has been criticism regarding the decision to redesign the $10 bill, a lesser circulated bill compared with the $20. However, as Rios explained in the roundtable, the decision had nothing to do with replacing Alexander Hamilton versus Andrew Jackson or the value and circulation of the bill. Rather, currency is redesigned to stay ahead of counterfeiting, and so the $10 is the next bill in line for redesign to combat counterfeiting and security threats.

But while the $10 bill is on deck for a makeover, Rios emphasized that putting a woman on the bill is not a one-and-done symbolic gesture. “This is not about currency design,” she said. “This is much bigger.”

U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios invited AAUW members and staff to a private roundtable to discuss the new $10 bill design.

Although the new $10 bill symbolizes the gains our nation has made when it comes to gender equity, there is still work to be done. Women continue to face barriers, among them the gender pay gap.

“The struggle for gender equality and equal opportunity continues,” said Lew during the announcement of the redesign. “The facts are clear. Women are still paid less than their male colleagues for doing the same work.”

As the secretary delivered his remarks in the National Archives rotunda, Rios’ 15-year-old daughter listened. After the event, she remarked to her mother that she had not realized that women were still fighting for fair pay. Rios’ daughter’s realization highlights the importance of the new $10 campaign’s potential to raise awareness about ongoing fights for gender equity.

“This is not about me; it’s about my daughter” and future generations, said Rios. “We have a lot of work to do.”

And so Rios says she and the Treasury Department are hoping to “ride the coattails” of women such as AAUW members who are taking charge to empower other women in the fight for equality.

U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios (right) and AAUW CEO Linda Hallman display AAUW's suggested images for the new $10 bill.

AAUW CEO Linda Hallman (left) presents U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios with symbolic bills that demonstrate the gender pay gap.

AAUW Poll: Tell the U.S. Treasurer Who Should Be on the New $10 Bill

To commemorate 100 years since the passage of the 19th Amendment, which secured women the right to vote, the U.S. Treasury has announced plans to put a woman on the $10 bill in 2020. While the bill won’t be circulated for another five years, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury Jacob Lew has called on Americans to submit their suggestions for the redesign of the $10 bill, including what the bill should look like and who should be on it.

Which woman would you choose to feature on the new $10? Let us know your choice in the poll.

The Results Are In!

Rank Entry Percentage of vote
1 Barbara McClintock 27.67%
2 Eleanor Roosevelt 22.82%
3 Harriet Tubman 9.82%
4 Rosa Parks 6.15%
5 Susan B. Anthony 5.44%
6 Sojourner Truth 3.41%
7 Sacagawea 2.23%
8 Amelia Earhart 2.12%
9 Elizabeth Cady Stanton 2.12%
10 Abigail Adams 1.76%
11 Rachel Carson 1.41%
12 Clara Barton 1.32%
13 Sally Ride 1.09%
14 Grace Hopper 1.00%
15 Pocahontas 1.00%
16 Frances Perkins 1.00%
17 Alice Paul 0.94%
18 Helen Keller 0.88%
19 Maya Angelou 0.79%
20 Jacqueline Kennedy 0.74%
21 Wilma Mankiller 0.50%
22 Jeanette Rankin <0.50%
23 Margaret Sanger <0.50%
24 Mary Harris “Mother” Jones <0.50%
25 Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton <0.50%
26 Dolly Madison <0.50%
27 Georgia O’Keeffe <0.50%
28 Patsy Mink <0.50%
29 Florence Nightingale <0.50%
30 Barbara Jordan <0.50%
31 Elizabeth Peratrovich <0.50%
32 Henrietta Lacks <0.50%
33 Juliette Gordon Low <0.50%
34 Maria Mitchell <0.50%
35 Elizabeth Ann Seton <0.50%
36 Martha Washington <0.50%
37 Jane Addams <0.50%
38 Marsha P. Johnson <0.50%
39 Ayn Rand <0.50%
40 Betsy Ross <0.50%
41 Ida B. Wells <0.50%
42 Coretta Scott King <0.50%
43 Sybil Ludington <0.50%
44 Abigail Scott Duniway <0.50%
45 Emily Dickinson <0.50%
46 Azie Taylor Morton <0.50%
47 Anna Julia Cooper <0.50%
48 Sarah Winnemucca <0.50%
49 Margaret Fuller <0.50%
50 Carrie Chapman Catt <0.50%
51 Katharine Drexel <0.50%
52 Anne Nicol Gaylor <0.50%
53 Mary Church Terrell <0.50%
54 Millicent Fenwick <0.50%


We’ve come a long way in nearly 100 years, but not far enough.



A bill showing a drawing of an African American woman and 6.4 for the value

Here’s What the $10 Bill Should Look Like

Ever heard of a $7.8 bill? Every American woman should.


The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap

AAUW’s biannual report is the definitive breakdown of the pay gap in the United States.

Gender pay gap by state. Click to expand.

Not Cool! Why Are Women Paid Less than Men Are in My State?

Check out our pay gap map and what you can do.

Bethany Imondi By:   |   September 16, 2015


  1. […] news, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that a woman will be featured on the redesigned ten dollar bill in 2020 (even though she will still share the bill with Mr. Hamilton.) The public has been […]

  2. Avatar Joyce Zook says:

    Eleanor has been an outstanding example of advancing rights and equity for women, girls and for all people.

  3. […] you’ve visited the national AAUW website recently, you may have been asked to participate in AAUW’s poll about which woman’s image should be placed on the $10 bill.  The U.S. Treasury department has announced that in 2020 they will be honoring the 100th […]

  4. Avatar Grace Small says:

    Good Afternoon AAUW, online reader, and Ms. Rosie Rios:

    Please consider adding the option to state anonymously “why” votes are being cast in one direction so that individuals are encouraged to share how they arrived at their decision. Not only because we could all benefit from the discussion (increase the scope of our understanding of this movement through the sharing of ideas), but also so that the roundtable discussion with Treasurer, Rosie Rios could be further enriched by introducing thoughts, feelings, and impressions of the online community polled for this vote.

    I will take the lead by making a stab at explaining why I made my choice in hopes to encourage a respectful, dignified, and thoughtful discussion we can learn and grow from and ultimately benefit greatly from. I can’t stress enough how I am using this as an opportunity to share and not as an attempt to sway votes. I will do my very best to stay true to that commitment.

    in light of that, the following is my own humble opinion:

    In regards to fighting for gender equality, the discussion should be framed to stress how this is a movement we all are better off for supporting and women are not the only benefactors of this movement. We need to argue that men do not have to give up or share their piece of the economic pie in order for women to have equality. Rather, we need to stress how women create greater value for society all on their own. Meaning, women’s innovations and capabilities actually grow the economic pie that is then shared. Rather than risk evoking feelings of gender identity that can be polarizing, my hopes are we chose a symbol that unites us as human beings.

    In order to to accomplish this most effectively, we need a symbol of a woman on the $10 bill who stands for more than women’s rights, but for her accomplishments to society as a whole. The symbol must evoke feelings of accomplishments, leadership capabilities, and innovation that breaks the gender barrier. Simply put, the woman chosen should have enriched society in so far as society would have been worse off if she had not contributed.

    With that said, I chose Amelia Earhart because she represents more than women’s rights. She represents accomplishments for all human kind. Her achievements in flight set precedence for us as human beings and accordingly evokes feelings of pride that we can all share together, men and women alike.

    Thanks for taking the time to read my comment. Take great care.


    Grace E. Small

  5. Avatar Amy Blackwell says:

    There are plenty of women of color who have helped to change the course of U.S. history. Choose one or more of them. Who says it has to be just one woman on the $10 bill? AND … close the gender pay gap! –> fightforfairpay.org

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